captain america and comic books 101

totally pointless rant here...and completely random...and contains spoilers for captain america. read at your own risk.
so i went to the movies tonight - first time in over a year. it was mostly fun - i enjoyed the movie - captain america: the first avenger. what i didn't enjoy were the obnoxious and uninformed teenagers sitting next to me. why go to a movie if you know nothing about the premise and sit there and talk through the whole thing, ruining key moments for others in the audience?
now i know my comics - i was the geeky girl who moved too frequently, haunted libraries, read and watched anime before it was popular and everyone caught japanese fever. i know my comics. the avengers are not a difficult concept to grasp. superhero team out to save the world - like the x-men without mutant super powers. the avengers are the hulk, iron man, hawkeye, thor, captain america, the black panther, and sometimes the black widow, wasp, and ant man. now in the last couple of years marvel comics have been turning superheroes into movies - no biggie, i like the movies. but is it too much to ask that people have an idea of what the movies are about before they go to see them? it's like going to watch superman and not knowing that lex luthor is his archenemy, and then asking in the middle of the film who the bald guy is. or not having a clue that peter parker is spiderman and wondering where the guy in the spider suit came from.
captain america is a comic icon. during wwii his adventures inspired children to patriotism and was responsible for instilling a fear of germans (that's the bad part about comics - sometimes they're taken too literally). so simple. captain america fights nazis and hydra (a nazi side group) and his archenemy is the red skull and his sidekick is bucky. again not hard - bad guy, and sidekick are pretty standard issue comic book hero stuff. in fighting red skull he gets stuck in an ice drift and is in a coma for decades. when he wakes up he's justifiably confused...but...eventually he's going to join the avengers...so...being as he's the oldest hero, this makes him...dun duh...the first avenger - hence the subtitle of the film.
the hulk movie is already made and they mention shield and tony stark. iron man is already made and we learn that iron man is tony stark. thor is already made and i haven't seen it yet, but i'm sure they mention tony stark. so...captain america...there's an important role played by tony stark's dad - this is a big clue that captain america takes place in the not too distant past. but the kids next to me are all "he doesn't look like tony stark, where's the guy that plays iron man?" well...duh this is the past. tony stark isn't born yet! evidently these kids can only follow linear story progression. it's really not all that difficult a concept - time jump.
i wanted to sit them all down and explain. there were so many really cool comic references in the film - like captain america's shield being made of vibranium, which is an alloy only mined in the fictional country of wakanda in africa. nifty side note - the black panther (i'm wondering if they're going to make a movie about him) is the king of wakanda - a society more technologically advanced than any civiilisation on earth. or captain america waking up in new york city in the modern era because he was rescued from his icy "grave" by shield and nick fury. sam l. jackson makes a kick ass nick fury, though he doesn't look a thing like the comic book character. or the connection to stark industries making weapons as far back as the 1940s which iron man/tony stark gets out of the arms business and turns his tech efforts towards world peace and medicine.
there are a lot of connections that you only get if you know your comics. but even if you don't know your comics, paying attention can give your more details and understanding. so why aren't people paying attention? i blame this on the fact that young people don't read like they used to. and they're so used to having their storylines handed to them there's no need to make connections, or remember details, or think to connect the dots.
when i taught high school i made my students read comics and graphic novels. why? they're fun, they're interesting. graphics are easier for some students to process than written text, and because comics make you think, remember details, make connections between characters and their motivations.
yeah this is a ramble. but bottom line. i think kids need to read more comics. maybe i should come up with a media campaign - comics, they grow brain cells...or something...